Arctic wildfires: What’s caused huge swathes of flames to spread?

Wildfires are ravaging the Arctic, with areas of northern Siberia, northern Scandinavia, Alaska and Greenland engulfed in flames.

Lightning frequently triggers fires in the region but this year they have been worsened by summer temperatures that are higher than average because of climate change.

Plumes of smoke from the fires can be seen from space.

Mark Parrington, a wildfires expert at the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (Cams), described them as “unprecedented”.

How bad is it?

There are hundreds of fires covering mostly uninhabited regions across eastern Russia, northern Scandinavia, Greenland and Alaska.

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A map showing the extent of the fire and smoke
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But smoke is affecting wider surrounding areas, engulfing some places completely.

Cities in eastern Russia have noted a significant decrease in air quality since the fires started.


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